Family plans to take Swiss bank Edmond de Rothschild private

FILE PHOTO: A logo of Banque Privee Edmond de Rothschild is seen on the bank building before a news conference for the group's 2010 results, in Geneva March 31, 2011. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

ZURICH (Reuters) - The Benjamin de Rothschild family plans to take Swiss bank Edmond de Rothschild (Suisse) S.A. private as it consolidates its banking activity and makes the group its operative holding company, the group said on Wednesday.

Edmond de Rothschild Holding SA is set to offer 17,945 Swiss francs ($17,836) in cash for each publicly traded bearer share of the private bank and asset manager, or 15,500 francs after deducting the proposed dividend, it said.

The stock, which closed on Tuesday at 16,400 francs, rose more than 8 percent to a high of 17,800 in early trading before paring gains to trade up 6.7 percent by 0930 GMT.

Founded in 1953, the Edmond de Rothschild Group has more than 170 billion francs in assets under management and 1.1 billion francs in revenue, it said.

The Edmond de Rothschild (Suisse) banking unit alone had client assets of 128 billion francs at the end of 2018, down 7 percent from a year earlier as adverse markets and currency conditions weighed. It saw an outflow of 2.5 billion francs in assets under management last year.

The buyout offer follows settlement last year of a dispute among Rothschild cousins over the commercial use of the banking dynasty’s historic family name.

It involves unwinding cross-holdings and buying back shares in a transaction that will cost nearly 100 million francs to give complete control of the bank to the family that already owns a majority stake.

“By taking it private, we are demonstrating our commitment to our banking group and our ambitions for growth, both organic and through acquisitions,” said Benjamin de Rothschild, chairman of Edmond de Rothschild Holding SA’s board of directors.

A spokeswoman said the Swiss bank was not for sale.

Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Edmund Blair